On the back of an inspirational summer of sport the WSA held their first Welsh Coaching Network meeting of the 2016/17 period. Held at one of the most iconic visions of the Cardiff Bay seafront, TechniQuest (@Techniquest) played host to what was a truly insightful event. With the leading minds of sports coaching from National Governing Bodies of sport, educational institutions and sport coaching entrepreneurship assembled, this meeting provided a unique opportunity to open the door to discuss how the organisations operate their current coach education and development systems and could they, with small or major changes, improve the outcomes of their efforts.
Entitled “Challenging Convention”, the meeting was kicked off with an eye opening and awe capturing presentation lead by Carl Darlington, Head of Coach Education for the Welsh Football Trust (@FAWTrust). Carl gave insight into how the future FAW Coach Education Pathway is taking shape and how the inspiring FAW Football Leaders Awards platform is central to their plans. Carl enlightened the assembled network on the background of the project, their rationale for change, what the FAW Trust foresee the future of their coaching landscape to be, and how the platform operates to engage with their vision. Packed with hints and tips on project design and innovative collaboration throughout the presentation, Carl demonstrated this now established platform is taking not only Wales, but the world of football education by storm and is receiving global interest from the far east, America and Europe.
Wishing to capture the enthusiasm generated in the room, the network proceeded to revolve around a carousel of activities throughout the TechniQuest centre, designed to challenge the way in which they think about problems to generate unique and innovative solutions:
Lead by Rhys, the network experienced the TechniQuest Trail Challenge in which four common place activities were delivered in unique ways in a time trial format to find an overall winning group. Focussing on experiential learning and problem solving, the network quickly had to get to grips with engaging their analytical minds to overcome these team and individual challenges.
National Trainers, Paul Sullivan (Monmouthshire, Sports Development Officer) and Mark Napieralla (Active Young People Co-Ordinator for Neath Port Talbot) showcased the newly launched Dragon Multi Skills physical literacy programme and challenged the network on how the programme could be included as part of their initial or ongoing coach training programmes to complement their current provision offers.
WSA Coaching Officer Dan Owens facilitated collaboration discussions based on how the network could work together to achieve a common goal, and create a product that would work for Wales based coaches in an online forum. Considering the unique circumstances surrounding each organisation, a volunteer working group will now be sought to trail blaze a collaborative project encompassing the sports organisations within the network.
Following a brief interlude, the attendees reassembled in the TechniQuest Science Theatre and were addressed by Jonathan Roberts, Sport Wales Senior Officer, delivering a Sport Wales update. This update saw Jonty focus on how the National Strategy for workforce is being developed and is reflective of the Sport Wales national strategies within Community Sports Projects and Elite Sports Strategy. Work being carried out in the Sporting Pathway is supporting the development and implementation of the Workforce Vision and Mission focussing on four key areas:
- Workforce Planning
- Give to Gain Principles
- Best Coaches and People
- Inspirational Leadership
Finally, the day was concluded with a presentation from Sports Xtra’s Managing Director, Rob Oyston. Rob demonstrated his personal background and that of Sports Xtra. From his experience in Sports Coaching and Education, Rob has been able to establish a model by which he can offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to create a business for themselves, providing a professional product focussing on a multi skills delivery, and guided by strict core values to provide a unique yet repeatable customer experience. With >75% of the UKs coaches operating in a voluntary capacity, Sports Xtra have unearthed a market that can revolutionise the face of sports coaching with children. The challenge for the traditional models of sports engagements, is how they too can create and continue the experience within their environments through offering engaging and inspirational coach development systems to create aspirational coaching environments in the community.